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Controlling Nematodes with Cereal Rye


Man I hate to have to clean these gardens out, Lord have mercy, at this time of the year. Everything has died, but you just don't leave it in the ground. What you do is pull it up. And look at the roots as you're pulling things up and what you might find are knots on the roots. Everybody's got them; don't be embarrassed. This is nematodes.

This is what we call nematodes. It's caused by a little microscopic worm. The tomato went on and had fruit, but these need to be controlled. There's only two ways to control them and the best way, right now, is to plant cereal rye or elbon rye.

It's grain, and looks like this grain that I'm holding in my hand here. It's just little grain. You put it out at 5 pounds per 100 square feet. You need to keep that watered and fertilized about every two to three weeks because what we want to do is to grow this massive root system that we have on these plants.

What that does is trap the nematodes or microscopic worms and then next spring we will shred this down and work it into the soil. Then we'll have killed the nematodes, and we'll have added a lot of green manure. That green manure is better than that stinky brown manure that comes in those little apple form.

So clean up your garden now, get rid of it, beautify it for the neighbors, and everybody will be happy and have a pretty garden to look at this winter.

This is Jerry Parsons, Vegetable Specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, the Weekend Gardener.

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